The Bottom Line: An engrossing, atmospheric organized crime thriller that crackles with energy from the first page to the very last. Highly recommended.
Luke Hawthorn’s world is crumbling around him. After his mother, an NCIS (National Criminal Intelligence Service) operative is killed in a mysterious house fire, he learns that she was investigating a new designer drug linked to the death of some 200 London club-goers. Among the victims: one of Luke’s closest friends.
So when an enigmatic uncle appears at the funeral and offers Luke a home in New York, he jumps at the opportunity to leave his old life behind. But he soon finds that despite the vast ocean separating Hell’s Kitchen from London, his worlds are destined to collide.
Author John Hanzl has created a highly successful crime thriller that works on multiple levels. In particular, his gift for authentic dialogue – across Russian, English, Irish and Honduran characters, no less – is exceedingly good. As a result, each successive chapter is an immersive experience in which Luke navigates new cultures and mysteries to find the truth that can save not only himself, but countless others as well.
In Luke’s Uncle, Hanzl has drawn an imposing, complex figurehead that manages to intimidate, even in his most charitable moments. As in Dennis Lehane’s best work, Hanzl manages to keep you guessing about the uncle’s true intentions until the last possible moment.
What really killed Luke’s mother? Why is a Russian submarine docked in New York? Who created the designer drug known as Rave-N? Get Out of Hell’s Kitchen and find out for yourself.